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Prime Mover: a Natural History of Muscle. (Books: a selection of new and notable books of scientific interest).


Why does squid get chewy if it's cooked too long? How do hand tools serve as extensions of our muscles? How do katydids make such a loud sound? How much work can a muscle do? In answering these and many more questions, this book is an entertaining and compelling overview of what we know about muscle. Vogel, author of Cats' Paws and Catapults, is a professor at Duke University who specializes in biomechanics. Here he reminds readers that muscle has served as our "engine" for most of humans' time on Earth. It was pretty much by sheer muscle power that the Great Pyramids were erected, and it's muscle that makes up 40 percent of our body weight. From whale to human to flea, muscular composition is largely the same. Each animal just uses its muscles differently. Vogel explains how clams use muscle to clam up, how birds use it to fly, and how people have designed tools based on it. Norton, 2001, 370 p., b&w illus., hardcover, $25.95.

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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 16, 2002
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